Brandt Snedeker will attempt to become the first player since Jim Furyk to successfully defend the RBC Canadian Open championship. Getting in his way is a mix of 10 former champions, 19 Canadians looking to become the first to win the tournament at home in 60 years on one of the oldest golf courses in North America. The following are five in a field of 156 who all start with an equal chance of winning the tournament when they tee it up for the first round on Thursday.
The former two-time Canadian Open champion (2006 & 2007) is in solid form heading in this week's event with six top 10 results including a pair of runner-up finishes. He's made every cut this season and played under par in 11 of 14 tournaments including last week's Open Championship where he finished fourth in a major that many had him as one of the favourites heading into the week. Furyk also has another advantage over most of the field in that he was on the U.S. Presidents Cup team that won back in 2007 at Royal Montreal.
The lanky South Carolinan has made the cut in 14 of 16 PGA Tour events, posting seven top-10 results this year. He's coming off a tie for 12th at the Open Championship and was tied for fourth at the U.S. Open. He's second in driving distance on the Tour, fourth in scoring average and eighth in birdies. A year ago, in only his second ever appearance at the Canadian Open, he finished in a tie for second. Johnson's other Canadian connection may be more well-known to average fans - his fiancée is social media darling Paulina Gretzky.
The native of Weyburn, Sask. will be making his 100th career start on the PGA Tour this week. He would like nothing better than to combine that milestone with ending the 60-year drought of a home born player winning the Canadian Open. DeLaet has six top-10 results this season but five of those came before the end of February including back-to-back runner-up finishes. He has just two top-10 results in his last 10 tournaments and has missed the cut in three of the last six events including the last two majors, the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. DeLaet is second in Greens in Regulation Percentage and fifth in Total Driving on the Tour this year.
He returns for some unfinished business in Canada. A year ago, Mahan was leading the Canadian Open when he decided to withdraw in order to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Back and hip injuries have limited him to just four top-10 results this year and he's coming off a tie for 32nd at the Open Championship. With many of the Tour's top players electing to take the week off after the major, Mahan has a chance to finish what he started 12 months ago.
Not a name that immediately comes to mind when you think of possible PGA Tour winners on a weekly basis but consider this - five of the last six Canadian Open winners were not exactly household names (Scott Piercy, 2012; Sean O'Hair, 2011; Carl Pettersson, 2010; Nathan Green, 2009; Chez Reavie, 2008). While he has only a pair of top-20 results in his last 12 events, he has not missed a cut over that same span. He is also one of a handful of players who has played Royal Montreal before, going 3-1-0 for the victorious U.S. Presidents Cup squad.